The following day at work I was scheduled with—I remember this time—Denis and a girl who goes by “Blonski.” Denis is a drifting guy…he’s lived in Nashville for half a year, and before that he lived in several other cities in the south, moving around on whims, just for a change of scenery. You have to admire that. Who has the courage to do that these days? It shows a disregard for careers, relationships, and stability—the shit everyone wants, or is supposed to want. To be willingly adrift in the confused miasma of contemporary life, and not suffocate, that’s something.
Blonski grew up on Long Island, which showed—more than she thought, I thought. Her accent was closer to mine than any southern or Midwestern accent I’ve heard, and she lacked the warmth of southerners whom I’ve met. In fact from the point of view of warmth, she left something to be desired. Her demeanor seemed to say: ‘don’t get up in my shit.’ She told me she was moving to NYC in a week or so, so we talked about that. But even with the ice thus broken, having found something to talk about, she still had a defensive air about her. At one point she was talking with Denis, relaying an anecdote about someone who had called her ‘granola.’ This was a lighthearted conversation they were having, it seemed to me. I put in that the she definitely wasn’t ‘granola,’ though her earth-brown pants might be misleading. To this innocent remark she retorted “you don’t know me,” and I realized she was offended somehow. That was it, I soured to her after that, am still soured to her in fact, in my memories, and I felt glad that she was leaving soon.
Later that night I went to dinner with Lewis, Abe, and Martin. We quickly settled into an easy rapport. At Brown’s Diner the waitress wouldn’t let Lewis order a BBQ sandwich because they’re known for their burgers, not their BBQ. We got some laughs out of that. When I asked for a coffee after we’d ordered a pitcher of beer she said, “you’re going to have a wide-awake drunk.” I quote verbatim. It did pep me up more than expected and I found myself becoming loquacious.
I spoke of the situation with Marianne. What situation? Don’t worry about it. I had been getting text messages from her regularly, many of which used exclamation points! in an un-ironic way, and I wondered what to do or say. We joked that maybe sending her a dick pic would be the best way to determine what she actually wanted from me. That’s the kind thing that eventually comes up when guys get together and drink, what can I say. This thought experiment of sorts gave me the idea for this.
At the bar we ran into a group of Spanish graduate students, some from Spain, other from South America, whom Abe knew. They insisted that he stay for another drink with them, but he was too tired. Everyone was too tired, except for me on account of the coffee. They seemed like good, lively company so I stuck around. Santiago talked about literature and Latin American cinema with me. We discussed our admiration for Beckett. Great conversation. Eventually, filled with beers, I scouted the scene for girls. One can’t always remain on a higher plane, the baser exigencies beckon. Unfortunately I encountered that eternal dilemma, that is, I realized I was not quite drunk enough to not feel like, what’s the word, a complete idiot, if I started talking to strangers. And built into this phrase is also the implication that if I got drunk ‘enough,’ then I would be acting like an idiot all the same.
So I did the mature thing, and went home. Perhaps me hitting on girls would have made a nice little passage, but just as the reader is probably growing tired of this sort of thing, so was I, so am I, since I am my own reader, in a sense.